Abandoned and Deceived in Irkutsk

After Captain Rex Carthew departed with the British women and children from Irkutsk, Brian Horrocks and the other prisoners-of-war were left in limbo.  The promised train with supplies and mail never arrived.  In Vladivostok the head of the British Mission sent a telegram to the Secretary  of State, Winston Churchill asking “To what extent may dealings be undertaken with the Soviet authorities in regard to prisoners; please wire urgent.”  The strict policy in place was for local commanders not to say anything that gave recognition to Lenin’s Government and this did not change.

Despondency pervaded the prisoners’ carriage where they lived.  In June, the  Commissars, who had initially led them to believe they would go east to Vladivostok as part of the Litvinov-O’Grady prisoner exchange agreement, changed their tune and told them they were being sent 4,000 miles to Moscow.   Understandably, they felt abandoned by their country and deceived by the Soviets.  On 12th June, two months after they said farewell to Carthew, their carriage was attached to a locomotive and at 2 p.m. they pulled out of the station on the long, depressing journey west.

Smoking Gun 1

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